Sometimes you do things for the first time and you just think WHY? WHY did it take me so long to stumble across this magic??
That discovery moment came for me recently when I decided to finally make a spatchcock chicken.
I’d already discovered that roasting a chicken was the most rewarding kitchen adventure there is. I knew that nothing on Earth compared to that first pinch of glistening, golden brown skin straight out of a hot oven.
And that is why the spatchcock technique won me over straight away!
By butterflying the bird and flattening it out, you reduce the time it takes to cook, and (more importantly) you give every inch of skin optimum crisping conditions.
And we all know that salty, crispy skin is the best part!
I made this Orange Cranberry Spatchcock chicken back in November for US Wellness Meats. I’m a big believer in eating things like crispy chicken skin, but I feel just as strongly that animals should be raised humanely, and in the way nature intended. So I was beyond excited when the folks at USWM asked me to be their December Chef of the Month!
You guys, I would never for one second describe myself as a chef. Just a girl with a cast iron pan on a quest for food that makes me do a happy dance (and also serves my body in the best way possible).
A pasture raised chicken roasted to golden brown perfection over a festive bed of orange and cranberries? That was definitely gonna take me to my happy place.
Spatchcocking a chicken is simply the method of removing the backbone and flattening it out. The flavors you choose to rest your chicken atop are 100% up to you and your taste buds. I was feeling especially festive, so I went the orange cranberry route, but you could easily switch up the flavorings.
Some other suggestions:
- Sliced lemons, red onion, and potato wedges
- Green beans and garlic (Yum! Thought of this right now but officially making it tomorrow)
- Onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and thyme.
The point is all those succulent chicken juices are going to drip right on down and make whatever happens to be underneath *ridiculously* delicious.
One recommendation I would make is, when you remove the backbone from the bird, roast it right along with the chicken (in the same pan or in another pan to the side). Use it along with the other bones afterwards to make a healing bone broth!
While I had a hot oven going, I roasted off some Brussels sprouts, which made a happy addition to our plates. The oranges give off their citrus magic, and the tart cranberries sweeten up with some coconut sugar and balsamic vinegar.
We spooned the goodness over some sprouted quinoa and rice.
Once you go spatchcock chicken, you never go back! If you love yourself and decide to try out this chicken, you better snap a pic and tag me on Instagram! 😊
- 3 ½ - 4 lb organic chicken
- 1 ½ cup fresh cranberries
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 oranges
- 1.5 tbs coconut sugar
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- ½ tbs herbs de provence (or your favorite dried herbs)
- Grassfed butter
- Salt and pepper
- Remove chicken from refrigerator to allow the chill to come off. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Slice the onions and add to a cast iron pan (or another oven proof pan). Add cranberries, the juice + zest of one orange, balsamic vinegar, coconut sugar, salt and pepper. Mix, and then top with thin slices of the second orange.
- Place chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at the tail end, cut along both sides of backbone with kitchen shears (a sharp serrated knife can be used if you don’t have kitchen shears). Open the chicken and push down on the breasts to flatten.
- Separate the skin from the breasts just enough to put a pat of butter between the skin and chicken breast. Rub additional butter over the rest of the chicken, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs de provence. Place over the orange cranberry mixture.
- Roast at 450 for about 45 minutes, or until the thickest part of the breast reads 165. Carefully transfer chicken to a cutting surface and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.
- Remove the orange slices from the pan (reserving a few for garnish) and serve the cranberry sauce with the chicken—over rice, cauliflower rice, mashed root veggie, or whatever you prefer!
Roasted Brussels sprouts go well with this meal, and can easily be roasted at the same time as the chicken.
Don't let me do all the talking! Let me know what you think in the comments.